Council insists it is not cutting back on CCTV cameras

CCTV cameras play vital roles in keeping communities safe and bringing criminals to justice.
CCTV cameras play vital roles in keeping communities safe and bringing criminals to justice.

A council has reacted angrily to suggestions that it has slashed investment in CCTV cameras in Gainsborough and the rest of the district.

Figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that £77,000 will be invested in CCTV by West Lindsey District Council in the financial year 2019/20.

This is 21 per cent lower than in 2017/18 when the council reported a net spend of £98,000 on surveillance, which is said to play a vital role in keeping communities safe.

However, the council says the figures, and the comparison, are misleading and do not reflect how much money it has pumped into its CCTV operation and the value for money it has achieved.

A statement read: “These figures do not accurately reflect the investment West Lindsey District Council is making into our CCTV operation.

“We have been investing in new technology, which is both better quality and cuts costs for us.

“We are expanding our CCTV operation, in line with our Corporate Plan, and we’re working closely with police, shops and pubs to ensure the district is safe.”

Councils can make money from CCTV by charging other organisations, such as hospitals or private companies, to use the existing network of cameras and operation rooms.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says councils prioritise investment in CCTV where possible, and argues that a good network of cameras can have wide-reaching benefits.

Simon Blackburn, of the LGA, said: “Public surveillance cameras have helped bring criminals to justice, increased conviction rates after crimes are detected, and are an important tool in tracking terrorist suspects.

“CCTV protects the public by dissuading crime and anti-social behaviour, assisting police officers on the ground and supporting prosecutions.”

In recent years, the quality of CCTV images has been much improved thanks to new technology and more enhanced connectivity.

Across England, a net £54.3 million has been allocated to CCTV systems by councils for the 2019-20 financial year.